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Question Choosing a stereo amp for Monitor Audio Gold 200

Basquelle

Active Member
This thread follows Question - How to fix a less-than-sparkling system?, where the need to choose a new amp was established.

I have a pair of Monitor Audio Gold 200 speakers in a room 6.7m x 4m (room layout attached), working across the width of the room, a difficult drive situation. Currently driven by a Marantz SR6009 AVR, they are lacking sparkle. I'm looking at which stereo amp I might use instead of the AVR.

I have heard, and liked, the Golds on a Roksan Kandy K3. Other contenders, suggested by @Crocodile are:

Arcam FMJ A28
Rotel RA-1520
Leema Pulse/Tucana

Can anyone advise or share their experience of similar kit?
 

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Craig uk

Distinguished Member
A few years back I had the GX200 running on a A28 with pretty good results. I'd certainly add Rega's excellent Elex-R and the Naim Nait 5si to the list at that price point.

There are other factors could be effecting the performance of your golds though, they are extremely revealing and can be quite unforgiving with a poor source.
 

Basquelle

Active Member
I'm liking the looks and the write ups of the Elex-R, I have to admit. But I'm getting concerned that this raft of amps, at 70 watts, isn't a lot different in power than the Marantz at something over 60 watts (60 watts per channel but bi-amped). If they're going to better, it would have to be because of the quality is higher, not because they're more powerful.
 

my naim is

Active Member
The watts figure doesn't tell the whole story. It is very confusing. Manufacturers all use different methods to calculate the wattage value, so you cannot compare them - this is a very frustrating fact of hi-fi life. It doesn't help the end users like us at all.

From experience I can tell you that Naim amps are conservatively rated and can drive almost any speaker with ease - they tend to sound louder and more powerful than their rating. Marantz are at the other end of the spectrum; they quote big numbers but actually don't perform that well. Rega are somewhere in between.

You must also consider synergy - that is how well components complement each other. Monitor Audio speakers are usually quite "bright" (forward sounding, lots of treble). You are best picking an amplifier and source with is typically "warmer" (rich sounding, more bass and mid range). Put the two together and you get a more balanced sound.

Rega are typically on the warm side. Naim is warm too, but can be harsh sounding. You should look at other amplifiers from people such as Roksan, Electrocompaniet or a Marantz stereo amp like the PM8005.
 

Basquelle

Active Member
Yes, I was chasing bright speakers because of the warmth of the Marantz, so this makes sense :)

Based on what I've learned so far, I'm leaning towards Roksan Kandy K3 or Rega Elex-R. The Rotel is an unknown quantity. Arcam and Naim I think are too risky a first choice. The Marantz PM8005 is quoted at 70 watts, the same as the current Marantz SR6009, so I'd want to be very sure it had a much better pre-amp stage than the SR6009.
 

my naim is

Active Member
Have a look on ebay for Roksan Caspian M2, the model up from the Kandy. There is one going for less than the Kandy K3 at £999. Don't worry about the lower wattage rating, it is a better quality amp. I have one on its way to me right now! :)
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Isn't 60 watts per channel a bit light for the Golds?
Not in Rotel's world. Their power estimates tend to be very conservative. A 1062 would certainly confirm that a stereo amp is the way to go. I had one on a pair of MA RS6s & never had it past 12 o'clock, which was VERY loud!

Edit
A HiFi Choice lab test rated it at 95W into 8 Ohms & it was very tolerant of lower impedances as well.
 
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Basquelle

Active Member
Before I can try out a stereo amp, I need to sort out how to convert to audio, as I play almost exclusively from streaming services, via computer and HDMI. No problem for the AVR, but no good for a stereo amp. Can anyone advise how best to do this?
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
I play almost exclusively from streaming services
I knew there was something I meant to ask - the source!

So what streaming services exactly are you using? If that's something heavily compressed that could be part of your problem, as could Windows sticking it's oar into the mix.
 

Basquelle

Active Member
Currently trialling both Qobus and Tidal, playing through Linux, HDMI out so presumably (!) streaming a FLAC bitstream.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Streaming does rather muddy the waters somewhat. I guess there's two routes you could go down:

Stick with the PC as a source & connect an external DAC (or buy an amp with a DAC).

Buy an amp with streaming/Airplay/Bluetooth built in & use a smartphone/tablet as the "source."

Either option is going to push the budget up further. I don't use any external streaming services so can't comment further.
 

Rich9600

Active Member
Yes, I was chasing bright speakers because of the warmth of the Marantz, so this makes sense :)

Based on what I've learned so far, I'm leaning towards Roksan Kandy K3 or Rega Elex-R. The Rotel is an unknown quantity. Arcam and Naim I think are too risky a first choice. The Marantz PM8005 is quoted at 70 watts, the same as the current Marantz SR6009, so I'd want to be very sure it had a much better pre-amp stage than the SR6009.

I ran Monitor Audio RS6 speakers off a Marantz SR5003 @90WPC, then upgraded to a 70WPC Marantz PM7003. Huge improvement! Much less clinical.

For stereo it was Mac Mini - Arcam rDAC (USB) - Marantz PM7003 - MA RS6

The PM7003 is switchable between power amp and intrgrated amp. So, integrates with the AV system.

My MA RS6's are presently driven by a Linn Majik DSM. They sound the best ever with this source/amp as it has a relatively relaxed presentation. The rDAC / PM7003 are driving some very old Mordaunt Short speakers in a bedroom system with very pleasing results. These speakers are a touch more laid back.

Monitor Audio speakers are very forward and benefit from relaxed electronics.
 
A

audiolux

Guest
I have a brand new pair of Monitor Gold 200 ribbon speakers driven by a Quad Artera with Novafidelity X40 (ESS Sabre DAC) as the source/pre-amp. The system is powerful and exciting with thrilling bass when needed (Lo Fang - The One that I Want) but also powerful and subtle with a big spacious soundstage for classical. I run this in a glass garden room 8 metres long and 4m wide and 4m high but carpeted and furnished with two leather sofas. A very difficult space but the system is superb.
 

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